Volunteering and avoiding burnout in the New Year

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As we begin 2014, some helpful advice from The Idealist for those involved in pro bono work or public service:

5 things you can do each day to prevent burnout
by Cynthia Jaggi

Instead of feeling refreshed from your holiday break, are you dreading being back at work?

Are you finding yourself less interested than you used to be – even in areas you are passionate about – and wondering what’s going on? Generally are you feeling more pessimistic?

You might be teetering on the edge of burnout, or even over the edge.

What is burnout?

Often in the nonprofit sector you are working on solving complex problems with very limited resources. In that context, it’s natural to have highs and lows. There are times when you are excited to see the impact you’ve made. Other times, you might feel frustrated with the lack of funding or the limits of your work.

Burnout is when you are consistently feeling negative and exhausted. Coupled with declining interest in activities you used to care about, you can soon find your job performance, and your relationships, suffering.

Maybe you find that you are tuning out of meetings. Or sitting in front of your keyboard distracted rather than researching or writing. “Where has my motivation gone?” you wonder. We all suffer from occasional difficulties staying excited about our jobs, especially when we’re dealing with a challenging piece of work. If you find yourself feeling more pessimistic, less motivated, and all around tired, you might be looking at burnout.

OK, I get it – that could be me. What’s the good news?

There are simple things you can do now to help prevent burnout, or start to reverse the trend if you are already experiencing it. Also, you’ll perform better once you re-blend your days to have more restorative and generative time.

Read more for the five things you can do starting right now to feel and perform better.

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